Sunday, January 20, 2019

From Dream to Woke

Certainty is the bane of possibility. If we can admit that we do not know how deeply injustice informs our world-view, we may become unsure enough to allow for a new world-view to wake. On this MLK weekend, I take heart from signs of waking all around us. As we learn about those that have been left out from our official history, as we uncover injustice in the halls of power, as we reveal the racist implicatures embedded in our language and habits, we begin to unravel the dominant narrative making possible a new story. That is appropriate for the season. It is winter in America: the old stories are decomposing, allowing for the possibility of spring.

Here is a story re-posted from 8 years ago:

Color Town
I shared this story on opening night of the Synergy Story Slam here in Asheville. The series has been selling out and I am delighted to have been there for opening night! The theme was "changes" and it was MLK Day, so....


  1. I grew up in a home with unexamined prejudice and it pains me to reveal that in going through my father’s belongings, I discovered a ‘Vote George Wallace’ matchbook.

    We lived in a lower class neighborhood about three blocks from ‘colored town’ in Ft. Lauderdale. We rarely saw people in our neighborhood from that area, but we were well aware that it a black neighborhood existed just over the railroad tracks from us. Still, it never worried me. And then one night, as I returned from an older brother’s house, I saw a young black man walking down the block. As I said hello and turned away to close my car door, he ran up to me, grabbed my purse (which contained all the cash from that week’s paycheck) and ran off. I chased him around the block (thank God guns were not involved) before he jumped into a car and sped off. He was never caught. My purse and its contents were not found. Sometime after that, our home was burgled. To my knowledge, nothing of value was taken. In fact, the silver dollars my father had set aside were left aside. Apparently, our burglars didn’t know that they had value. I’ve never forgotten that because as poor as our family was, these people — my near neighbors and fellow residents, were clearly worse off than I and my family.

    Going back to your story, perhaps Irene wasn’t forthright with your parents about your comments. Or maybe she was and your parents denied their part in it. Regardless, you were children who harbored no ill will toward this good person, but were influenced by people who likely lacked awareness of the impact of their words.

    We have all been “infected by ideas we didn’t sign up for” and I pray that more people discover. Ideally, in our own personal development and with each subsequent generation, we become more enlightened.

    Prejudicial treatment is so insidious that many of us are unaware of the implications in medicine, technology, and other fields. I’m still learning more about this and I hope the lessons spread.

    David, I so appreciate your vigilance in this regard. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Oh, and to be completely honest, I parroted a lot of ignorant comments and absorbed caustic and self-negating ideas as I was growing up. I’ve worked on myself to prevent that kind of contamination of my sons. And I continue to improve my awareness. That’s what responsible humans do, right?